Light Reading

Intel Buys Sparkolor's Assets

Light Reading
NFOEC News Analysis
Light Reading
9/17/2002
50%
50%

DALLAS -- NFOEC -- News has leaked out that Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) has bought the assets of yet another tunable laser company, Sparkolor Corp.

Jerry R. Bautista, director of technology and strategic marketing for Intel's photonics group, confirmed the news at the NFOEC show yesterday. He says Intel will announce the deal officially in the next few days.

Financial details were not disclosed, but it appears not to have been an outright acquisition. According to sources, Intel has purchased Sparkolor's intellectual property and hired some of its technical staff. The other assets of the company, including all its sales and marketing people, were not included in the deal.

Intel already has its own internally developed tunable laser technology, along with the tunable laser business of New Focus Inc. (Nasdaq: NUFO), which it scooped up in May this year, raising questions about how Sparkolor's technology will fit in with Intel's other optical acquisitions (see Intel Scoops Up New Focus Laser Unit).

According to Bautista, Intel is buying Sparkolor for its grating technology rather than its tunable lasers. "Sparkolor had some very interesting technology for thermally-tuned, polymer-enhanced gratings," he says.

More details of this technology are described in a patent that Light Reading unearthed last year (see Sparkolor Secrets Surface). Sparkolor had developed a thermally-tuned laser with the tuning section manufactured out of glass (silica). Glass is ideal for this application because its refractive index properties change strongly with temperature. However, adjacent sections of glass, which do not need tuning, will also be affected by the heat. Sparkolor's big idea was to use a polymer layer with an opposite refractive index change to compensate for the thermal effects in places where they were not desired.

Intel could use this kind of technology to make tunable filters and reconfigurable optical add-drop multiplexers, or simply to temperature-stabilize glass-based optical components.

But while the technology sounds interesting, it is largely unproven. While companies both large and small have evangelized the properties of polymers, none has really had success in bringing polymer technology to market.

Sparkolor's investors included Optical Capital Group, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and Storm Ventures.

Intel is still shopping for other startups, judging by remarks made by Gordon Hunter, general manager of Intel's optical products group, at last week's European Conference on Optical Communications (ECOC) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

At a dinner in the Tivoli Gardens, Hunter acknowledged that Intel still has some gaps in its optical component portfolio, and eventually (after some needling by Light Reading) he named two of them -- lasers and MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems). Sparkolor doesn't really fall into either of these categories.

— Pauline Rigby, Senior Editor, Light Reading
www.lightreading.com

(5)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
gea
50%
50%
gea,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:52 PM
re: Intel Buys Sparkolor's Assets
Damn. Sure seems like Intel is thinking long term. Does anyone not believe that optical will one day return with a vengeance? When that happens, it looks like Intel will be right there. I'm amazed that Intel is able to operate with such a long term focus. Most companies are jettisoning assets that don't make money RIGHT NOW...

Any Intel employees out there? Is Intel really a smart company, or just lucky? Their track record is long enough that I'm starting believe the latter.
gea
50%
50%
gea,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:52 PM
re: Intel Buys Sparkolor's Assets
Damn. Sure seems like Intel is thinking long term. Does anyone not believe that optical will one day return with a vengeance? When that happens, it looks like Intel will be right there. I'm amazed that Intel is able to operate with such a long term focus. Most companies are jettisoning assets that don't make money RIGHT NOW...

Any Intel employees out there? Is Intel really a smart company, or just lucky? Their track record is long enough that I'm starting believe the latter.
LightBeating
50%
50%
LightBeating,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:45:45 PM
re: Intel Buys Sparkolor's Assets
Gea,

They look smart. They haven't made too many "crazy" (meaning $B+) acquisitions, liek everybody else during (and even after) the bubble. Rather, they go out there and scoop up the technology and good technical people from failed startups, at very low prices, and have a strong (albeit discreet) internal R&D program in optics. Yes, they could surprise everyone when the time comes.

LB
slhardy
50%
50%
slhardy,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:44:33 PM
re: Intel Buys Sparkolor's Assets
I think both. Strategy and luck are a good thing these days.
curious__george
50%
50%
curious__george,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 9:44:19 PM
re: Intel Buys Sparkolor's Assets
Yes, as an employee I can honestly say that the senior management "gets it". They do understand that the CPU business ($6B/qtr rev!) is impacted positively by bringing more bandwidth to the desktop. As such they support the long term objective of building an optical infrastructure. Further, they also understand that we cannot grow quickly enought organically and need to be aggressive in the marketplace through acquisitions and partnerships. It's not all rosey however, success in the CPU business does not necessarily mean success in photonics. The company must be flexible and be able to adjust to the very different photonics market. This is not easy for career Intel types.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Ericsson's Hyperscale Datacenter System (HDS) 8000, featuring Intel's Rack Scale Architecture, caused a stir when it was announced at MWC 2015. For more on this revolutionary product, join me on Thursday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. EST for a Super Webinar event, A New Hardware Paradigm for the Telco Data Center.
LRTV Documentaries
CableLabs' Clarke Updates Cable Virtualization

4|23|15   |   05:41   |   (1) comment


Former BT exec now leading CableLabs' NFV and SDN efforts explains key role of open source and updates efforts to virtualize the home network.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. II

4|23|15   |   08:19   |   (1) comment


In the second installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about cultural change, network slicing and technology advances.
LRTV Interviews
Ericsson's CTO Talks Transformation: Pt. I

4|23|15   |   09:27   |   (3) comments


In the first installment of an in-depth two-part interview, Ericsson's CTO Ulf Ewaldsson talks to Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders about the incredible transformation underway in the communications networking industry.
LRTV Documentaries
LTE Paves the Way for the 5G Revolution

4|20|15   |   4:20   |   (0) comments


Håkan Andersson, head of 5G product strategy of the Radio Business Unit at Ericsson, discusses the role of LTE, the US and other industry verticals in building a true 5G ecosystem.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
Upcoming Live Events
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
In its latest survey covering network operators' plans and strategies for ICT transformation, Heavy Reading asked telecom operators worldwide to identify the most important goals and objectives for their ICT transformation initiatives. Heavy Reading also asked operators about the importance of a "digital first" strategy, which enables customers to complete an interaction across different digital channels, such as web and mobile self-service and social media.
Hot Topics
Comcast Formally Ends Its Bid for TWC
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/24/2015
What if the Comcast Merger Fails?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/20/2015
Google's WiFi-First Mobile Service 'Fi' Is Here
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 4/22/2015
Comcast Merger May Hinge on Hulu
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/22/2015
Google Ready to Release Thousands of Loons
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 4/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Many leading communications companies can claim to have undergone significant periods of reinvention during their histories, but none have been through more major ...
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
Cats with Phones
Learning Curve Click Here
Pierre could never remember how to use Excel.
Latest Comment